The Cloud’s Hill Victorian Mansion, located right on the border of East Greenwich and Warwick at 4157 Post Road, is a living, breathing historical artifact which only grows more impressive in its antiquated wonder with every passing day. Throughout February, by appointment only and for $12 per person or $20 per couple, visitors can tour the many rooms of the mansion and take in a particularly special historical exhibit. “100 Years of Romance” has been running for over 10 years now, but the collection of wedding gowns actually date from as early as 1833 and up until the 1980s, making it more like 150 years of romance.
Many of the gowns are authentic, period family heirlooms, some of them from the Holst family themselves (Anne Dietrich-Holst is the current proprietor of the mansion, which she points out fittingly enough was originally gifted to Elizabeth Ives Slater as a wedding present). The dresses display a wide range of styles and fashion trends throughout history, from modest, long dresses of the Victorian 1800s to form-fitting, shoulder puffed glamorous gowns of the 1980s.
Throughout the exhibit lie informational signs with fun facts about weddings throughout history. Did you know that Queen Victoria’s wedding cake was 300 pounds and had an ice sculpture placed atop it? How about the belief that getting married on a Wednesday is supposed to bring about the best luck, or that getting married on a Saturday was considered the unluckiest day of all?
The gowns are displayed on a variety of mannequins, which Dietrich-Holst acquired from a variety of places and has set up, with the aid of the mansion’s volunteers, in various displays to provide a completely unique and intimate historical experience unlike any other of its kind.